I don’t know if I should be as proud as I am to admit that I binged watched One Day At a Time season 2 in a whole day. I got home from school at 4PM and by 11 I had finished the whole season- but I can tell you with absolute certainty that this show is an emotional roller coaster, one where this minute you’re crying your eyes out and the next one you’re laughing so hard your stomach hurts.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as this review only covers episodes 1 through 6, episodes that are funny, lovable and relatable on a spiritual level.
As there are a lot of things this show discusses, I want to clarify that this is NOT a spoiler-free review, so if you haven’t watched season two go to Netflix, put ODAAT and then come back to share your thoughts with us. (Believe me, you’re going to want to).
Having cleared that up, let’s begin.
One of the things I liked the most in this first couple of episodes is how every member of the family gets emotional depth by showing us how everyone in the family is actually affected from the situations happening in America without saying his name every five minutes or having someone read the news every now and then. No, they did it in an empathic way that feels personal and intimate, the way some people feel every day since last year.
Let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about. The very first episode of the season shows us this when Alex (Marcel Ruiz) gets in trouble at school when a bully in his class tells him names related to his race and his ethnicity, even yelling “build the wall.” The Alvarez tell Schneider (Todd Grinnell) that those kinds of comments won’t go away anytime soon. There’s also when Lydia (Rita Moreno) reveals she never became a citizen and Elena’s fear about her future reflects the fear that one day the government’s escalating war on immigrants could mean Lydia gets deported.
The show also tackles what’s white passing -when a person of color pass as a white person and benefits from their privilege even though they are a minority- and even say the word “Latinx”, with a really funny response from Lydia.
On a more happier note, Elena (Isabella Gómez) has a girlfriend, and that’s great, because while in season one the series focused on her coming out to her family and grappling the fact that she was a lesbian, this season we see her explore what it means to date as a gay teen. Even the awkwardness that comes with her first crush and first girlfriend while at the same time finally accepting who she is, the good and the bad.
These first episodes proved once and for all that Rita Moreno is and always will be a treasure to the world, period, no discussion. And whenever she is with Marcel Ruiz their relationship feels so natural and true, you would think they are actually grandmother and grandson. It also helps that they are the funniest characters of this season.
Isabella Gomez was also funny and bold, having earned the medal of sassiest character in the show, but she had some powerful scenes that could get to the feels of even the most cold-hearted ones.
On their part, Schneider and Dr. Berkowitz (Stephen Tobolowsky) were more involved in the family, but their appearances never felt forced or out of place, they appear whenever they need to do so and no more. And while this season did focus a little bit more on the “relationship/friendship” between Leslie Berkowitz and Lydia, it wasn’t something that was bad or something like that, it was rather sweet -even though Lydia says time after time that Berto is the love of her life-.
While season one was bold and did not shy away from topics like deportation, mansplaining, coming out and dealing with the subsequent rejection one can face, this show got even bolder at the way they deal with things, making it not only more emotional season but also funnier and sassier than ever.